There was a wave of excitement in the air at the long awaited National Youth Convention in Ikot Ekpene, Akwa ibom state on Sunday 4th December 2022 with the festive divine service at Ikot Ekpene stadium.
District Apostle Michael Ehrich accompanied by Lead Apostles Geoffrey Nwogu (Nigeria), Oppong, Saffo (Ghana) all active Apostles and Bishops in Nigeria as well as Apostles Ebanga and Chi Nche from Cameroon and Apostle Gonzalo from Equatorial Guinea officiated in the service.
The young brothers and sisters were so excited to meet with each other and participate in the 1st ever National Youth gathering in Nigeria which made history as the largest fellowship of New faithful in the country.
For the divine service, the District Apostle drew a text word from Colossians 2: 6-7:
“As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving”
At the commencement of the divine service, the District Apostle made a warm welcome to the youths and everyone in the divine service. He was very thankful to God Who made the fellowship possible.
After listing a few challenges and situations that young people go through, especially situation that sometimes make them ask questions on what they could achieve in the future and how they can leave any unpleasant situation.
He admonished everyone to do one thing: To put our hands in the hand of our heavenly Father, that He will make a way for us to meet our needs and that God is not far away from us. He said, we need to see Him with our eyes of faith in our daily lives.
The servant of God gave an example of Zacchaeus who received Jesus into his house and got salvation. This was a sign to show that God loves every human no matter their state and condition. He is a loving God.
In like manner, we have received Christ through the baptism of water and Holy spirit, our rebirth. We have example of faith in our families and for some their faith was built through the teachings of ministers of God in the congregation and the Sunday school teachers.
Also, we have an additional gift from God, His word and the Holy Communion. With this we are rooted in Christ as we walk in Him. When we walk in Christ and receive Him, we could have experiences of faith. God hears our prayers. Our heavenly Father answers our prayers.
On the day of confirmation, we gave our word that we want to be steadfast in our faith and follow Christ through His Apostles.
In our efforts to walk in Christ there are many influences in our lives. The devil tries to weaken our relationship with God. He deceives people with money and power, making it a center point of their lives.
To surmount these trials, the District Apostle said; it is important to walk and live in Christ. Jesus Christ has given us a good measurement of our Christian lives and a proof that we walk in Him.
The District Apostle Asked all present t himself these questions:
Is God at the central point of our lives? Do we walk in Jesus; do we live according to the gospel? Do we keep the commandment of God?
Now that we have received Christ, let's walk in Him and be steadfast in our faith.
Just like trees that have many roots, when the storm come, the plant remains firm and steadfast. We also have so many storms of life as explained in Colossians 2:8. This becomes a wind and storm which affects our faith, but we remain rooted in Christ because we draw spiritual strength by attending the divine services. We gain the great Godly power.
If we walk in Christ, we will be rooted in Him and we can take responsibility in the church. If we are established in faith as we have been taught, we will remain firm in Christ.
Let's bring our gift and talents into the work of God. Do not believe whoever says you are not talented. God Has given every one of us gift and talents as humans.
We can take up responsibilities as ministers in God's house or also function in other none ministerial roles like teaching the children in the Sunday school, making flowers for the altar, cleaning the house of God and other activities. Please invest your gift and talents in the work of God.
To also walk in Christ and be rooted in Him we need to develop interest in reading the gospel, the core points of the Holy Scripture-Matthew, Mark, Luke and John the District Apostle recommended to the youths.
He also asked the youths to study the catechism of the New Apostolic Church which can help them find many answers to the questions that bother their hearts.
He said, though we may not find an answer to every question, at the point that happens let’s always call and trust our heavenly Father and put our lives in His hand. All of us are loved by God. He understands our situations and imperfections.
Christ Himself knows what it feels to be young. Let's look unto Him for blessings.
In conclusion, the District Apostle wished the youths all the best in life and prayed that God blesses every youth in their young life.
Lead Apostle Samuel Oppong-Brenya and Benjamin Ohene-Saffo from Ghana were called to serve along in the divine service.
In the divine service, Bishop Banuna from South South Nigeria working area and Bishop Isaac Adelabu of West Nigeria working area, thirteen district ministers across different Apostle working area in Nigeria were placed into retirement and twelve district rectors and eight deputy district rectors were appointed and assigned respectively for different Apostle working area in Nigeria.
8,493 youths attended the divine service at the Ikot Ekpene city Stadium.